On November 1 and 2 Dzaleka will host the sixth edition of Tumaini Festival.
According to organizers of the festival, five performances in areas of two stages (main stage, youth stage), a Poetry Corner, a Theatre Corner, and Cultural Ground (traditional dance ground) will be on display.
There will also be an arts exhibition space and a children’s playground. Tumaini Festival 2019 will also feature music, poetry, comedy, films, theatre, acrobatics, dance (traditional and contemporary), drums, traditional food and workshops.
“There will be a variety of food stalls and opportunities for vendors from Dzaleka to sell their goods and handcrafted arts,” reads in part a release on Tumaini website.
As a novelty Tumaini Festival 2019 adds a fashion show called ‘Fashion in the Dust’ to give opportunity to fashion designers and models in Dzaleka and the surrounding villages to showcase their works, talents and beauty.
The music and cultural festival which takes place inside Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa presents a unique opportunity to support an innovative large-scale cultural event, developed and delivered by refugees and the host community.
It uses entertainment and artistic expression to promote intercultural harmony, mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence for the benefit of both communities.
Tumaini Festival is organised by Tumaini Letu—Swahili words meaning: our hope—a non-profit organisation based in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, founded in 2012 by Trésor Nzengu Mpauni also known as Menes La Plume, a refugee poet, musician and writer from Lubumbashi in the South of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Organisers say the Tumaini Festival will meet refugees needs, while also benefitting the host community as we all stand, sing, and dance together for peace.
“There is a rich diversity of cultures within Dzaleka that everyone can discover and learn from. Each of the forcibly displaced persons is a survivor and has an inspiring story to tell,” the organizers say in the release.
They say to bring the Dzaleka community and its guests even closer together Tumaini Festival 2019 also offers a Home Stay Programme where guests can stay with families from Dzaleka during the festival.
“Dzaleka will open its doors to provide guests with firsthand knowledge of the reality and challenges refugees are facing, their resilience and strength, in order to break down prejudices towards refugees,” they add.
Apart from the festival, Tumaini aims to empower refugees and foster pride through arts and artistic expression encourage entrepreneurship and reduce poverty in the refugee camp facilitate the gain and exchange of knowledge and skills through workshops and trainings.
“Tumaini aims to enhance intercultural understanding change the public perception towards refugees in Malawi promote the talents and cultures of Dzaleka residents to Malawians and the international community foster Dzaleka itself as a place of unity, peace, coexistence and harmony among refugees and Malawian population,” the organization says in the release.
Dzaleka is the only permanent refugee camp in Malawi. It is located in Dowa district, 45 kilometres from Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city.
It has a population of approximately 40 000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi, with smaller numbers of people from Somalia, Ethiopia and other countries.
In Malawi, refugees do not have the right to employment, the right to property, or the freedom of movement. This greatly isolates refugees, limits their financial capacity, and restricts their ability to access cultural events.
The organizers say organising a festival with over 65 performing acts from various countries happening at this unique location does have its challenges. From last minute technical issues, to logistical demands concerning the transport or even weather conditions – little problems can always arise.
However, the promise to find solutions, the same way they have always found one in the past years.
“We are excited to organise a festival this size and with this symbolic significance! Rising to possible challenges is important, as is the need for the Dzaleka community and our supporters worldwide to come together, to take risks, just as refugees did, to tell our and their stories, or “just” celebrating together the joy of music,” they promise.—info sourced from Kickstarter.com